Anti-violence Facebook site gets 450+ members in one week
A former gang member is calling for Bermuda to stand up and speak out against gang violence.
Jahma Gibbons is behind the group Stand Up Bermuda. Its members are now trying to get the public onboard with their message.
“I feel that I need to stand up for what I believe in,” Mr Gibbons said. “It’s about Bermuda, it’s about our Country, it’s about our children. If we don’t stand up for this now, it’s not going to get better.”
Four men have been fatally shot this year 26-year-old David Clarke, 22-year-old Randy Robinson, 26-year-old Jahmiko LeShore and 29-year-old Colford Ferguson.
Mr Gibbons started Stand Up Bermuda with a Facebook page last week. Within five days the group had more than 450 people sign up to get involved six people volunteered to become members of a committee. “I’m trying to get ten people who represent the whole Island all the way from Tucker’s Town to [the] back of town,” he said.
On the organisation’s Facebook page, “Stand up 4 whats rite or fall 4 whats wrong”, members have called for the public to stand with community leaders to institute change.
Mr Gibbons said: “We have all these different groups and charities, church groups and community groups. My goal is to bring all those together because, as far as I’m concerned, we all need to stand together. The police can only do so much. The police and the community need to work hand in hand. We cannot expect the police to do everything, but if we don’t feel we are safe, few people are going to be willing to stand up.”
The father-of-two said the group hopes to hold a march and possibly a community fun day this year in an effort to help unify the public. “Gang members are the minority of people on this Island,” he said. “The majority of people shouldn’t be afraid to go out, [the gangs] should be the ones afraid, staying inside afraid that someone’s looking for them.
“We need, as Bermudians, to come together and stand up for what’s right. We cannot keep allowing our children to get killed.”
Mr Gibbons, who is currently writing a book on his experiences on the streets of Bermuda, said that since he stepped away from the criminal lifestyle the Island’s gang culture has changed.
“I used to be on the streets and I used to have what you guys call a gang, although we didn’t call it a gang,” he said.
“I lived on the streets, I dealt drugs, and now I want to do what I have learned is right and give back to the community.”
He continued: “If you look at who’s getting shot and killed, most of them are between 19 and 25. They are still young men.
“My thought is if these young men have this mentality now, can you imagine how their children are going to be, getting brought up in this violence? The next generation could be ten times worse.
“Since I started to speak out, I have received death threats, but I have to stand up for my children. Someone has to do it.”
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